Temporal range: Late Triassic
|Skeleton of Rutiodon carolinensis (AMNH 1) in the American Museum of Natural History|
Rutiodon ("Wrinkle tooth") is an extinct genus of archosaur belonging to the family Phytosauridae. It lived during the Late Triassic period, and was about 10 to 25 feet (3 to 8 meters) in length. Rutiodon is known from the eastern United States (North Carolina, New York, New Jersey).
Like other phytosaurs, Rutiodon strongly resembled a crocodile, but its nostrils were positioned far back on the head, close to the eyes, instead of at the tip of the snout. It had enlarged front teeth, and a relatively narrow jaw, somewhat resembling that of a modern gharial. This suggests that this carnivore probably caught fish and it may also have snatched land animals from the waterside. Also, like modern crocodiles, its back, flanks, and tail were covered with bony armored plates.
In popular culture
Rutiodon is one of the best-known phytosaurs and appeared in the 2001 Discovery Channel documentary When Dinosaurs Roamed America, shown trying to attack a Coelophysis near the water's edge and missing. Rutiodon was also featured in episode 6 of Animal Armageddon.
- Gaines, Richard M. (2001). Coelophysis. ABDO Publishing Company. p. 21. ISBN 1-57765-488-9.
- Michelle R. Stocker (2010). "A new taxon of phytosaur (Archosauria: Pseudosuchia) from the Late Triassic (Norian) Sonsela Member (Chinle Formation) in Arizona, and a critical reevaluation of Leptosuchus Case, 1922". Palaeontology 53 (5): 997–1022. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4983.2010.00983.x.
- Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 95. ISBN 1-84028-152-9.
- Geological report of the midland counties of North Carolina by Ebenezer Emmons. New York, G.P. Putnam & Co.; Raleigh, H.D. Turner, 1856.
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